25 August 2010
It's about time.
After a long, hot summer full of hype and expectations, the dawn of the 2010 season is upon us. You better believe that Utah is getting primed for this game:
The team was divided by the usual white jerseys for offense, black for defense, and a new look, red jerseys for the scout team. Freshman running back Lucky Radley stood out on the day, playing the role of highly vaunted Pitt running back Dion Lewis, complete with a bright yellow jersey with the number 28, Lewis' jersey number. Other Ute players donned the same numbers as their Pittsburgh counterparts, aiding the scout team in running Pitt schemes for the defensive starters.
Also of note in the above piece is that starting outside linebacker JJ Williams will miss the Pitt game.
But what does this game mean? Pauls Zeise says not a whole lot:
So in short, don't read too much into the results of the first game of the season.Yes, you'd like Pitt to win it to get off to a good start and to grab some momentum, but if they do it doesn't mean much more than they are 1-0. And if they lose, it doesn't mean much more than they are 0-1.
Chas over at PittBlather responds to Zeise, making some good points of his own. And yes, while a loss would only derail Pitt's national championship ambitions (as small as they may be), this is a statement game for both teams. For Utah, a win is another reminder that despite being in the MWC for another season, they belong with the big boys. With the program heading to the greener pastures of the Pac-10(12), this may be one of the last time times they can play the disrespect card - at least in terms of their conference affiliation. They are the big boys now.
For Pitt, a win is a proclemation that Pitt isn't just "Big East good," but are serious contenders to do some BCS damage. To get Dion Lewis' Heisman campaign underway. To establish Tino Suneri as "The Man" for the next three seasons. And yes, to earn a little payback on behalf of their fans for the Fiesta Bowl loss. This is a big game. Losing will do nothing to end Pitt's chance of winning the Big East (a realistic goal), but a big game nonetheless.
As with all big games, there will be the pleasantries:
"I don't know him personally but I've observed his career take shape. He's an excellent football coach, obviously, he's been at every level and he's really turned that Pitt program around," Whittingham said. "He's got them right where they need to be right now. They're in great shape. They're picked to win the Big East this year and (Wannstedt) really has returned that program to prominence."
Much can (and will) be said about the fantastic job Whittingham has done out west. Keeping the Utah program prominent when Urban Myer left is nothing short of incredible. Suppoedly better programs have fallen of cliffs after losing much worse coaches (Louisville). There should be no doubt that he will have his team ready to play ball on Sept. 2.
Let's do this.
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